Tuesday, May 18, 2010

LA County Arboretum

While I was in California last month, my friend Laura was kind enough to take me to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.  I had originally planned to spend a whole day at the Arboretum while my friend was working.  Unfortunately, when we looked ahead at the forecast we discovered it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy on that particular day, so we decided to go earlier in the week while the weather was still beautiful.  I'm glad we did--it ended up pouring down rain the entire day I would have been at the Arboretum.  Nothing like a little taste of home, right?

We wore ourselves out in just a couple of hours at the Arboretum and managed to see about a third of the 127 acres.  Here is a map of the grounds:
http://www.arboretum.org/images/uploads/visitor_map.jpg

We spent most of our time in the areas surrounding Baldwin Lake, Tule Pond, and the section marked "Asia" on the map.  There was so much to see!  And so many things I missed!  I guess I'll just have to make another trip to California before too long so I can see everything I missed this time around.  I'm only half kidding.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting a taste of the California climate, so very different from ours here in the Northwest.  Lots of palm trees, of course, as well as a myriad of tropical plants I couldn't identify because, well, I've never been to a tropical place before!  It was all quite new and exciting for me and definitely one of the highlights from my vacation.

It's hard for me to pick favorites from this photo set, but here are a few that stand out:

This is what I call "happiness."  Blue skies, abundant sunshine, and branches bursting with blooms.  One of the few things I remember the name for, this is the Chinese Fringtree (Chionanthus retusus).  Isn't it glorious?




When I first looked at these columbine pictures, it seemed to me that their shapes and the angles of the photos made the blooms look as if they were dancing.  And that thought made me smile.  Because flowers do dance, if you will only stop to watch them.



I think I love this picture because there are no flowers.  Yes, I love flowers; that's a well-known fact.  But I also love to find beauty in places where people forget to look, in the ordinary, in the quieter things.  This branch caught my attention immediately but I only took one picture of it because I didn't think the camera was capturing it well.  I was wrong.  I'm glad I listened to my instinct and took that photo.  Perhaps next time I'll trust myself and take more of them.



This, I've decided, is my favorite photo from the set.  Everything about it seems "just right," but what I appreciate most is the sense of mystery and quiet beauty.  The flower itself is rather loud in color, but it is small, hidden amongst leaves, weaving in and out of the light.  You will miss it if you don't look carefully.  And that, I think, can be said about many things in life.  So look carefully, my friends.  You don't want to miss the beauty.

You can view the rest of my pictures in the slide show embedded below (again, if you're using a feed reader you'll need to come directly to the blog to see the slide show) or you can go straight to my Shutterfly site here and then select the slide show option from the right sidebar.  Enjoy!

(All pictures from this set were taken with the Nikon D50 and the 18-200 mm VR lens)


4 comments:

  1. Well, all your pics are fabulous but I have to agree with the fav... That pic is perfect, absolutely stunning! You need to enlarge it and hang it on your wall.....

    Glad you had a good trip!

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  2. BTW, are you shooting manual? I am so not there yet, thus I often have to do a little exposure correction in PSE :oP

    So, you going to move to California where the sun almost always shines and they have GIGANTIC arboretums? :o) Has to be tempting if your weather has been like ours this week :oP

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  3. @B--No, I'm not shooting in manual yet. Sometimes I don't think I'll ever be *that* good ;o). I shoot in Program mode for standard lenses like the 18-200 VR. This lets me adjust the exposure as well as the flash compensation (for shooting close-range with flash). For the 105 macro lens, I shoot in Aperture Priority mode. This gives me control over depth of field as well as exposure. Are you shooting in Auto mode for your lenses? What camera body are you using?

    Not moving to CA anytime soon, but the thought certainly has crossed my mind--more than once!

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